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University of York centre celebrates 25 years of raising children’s aspirations in science

Posted on 24 June 2021

A pioneering teaching and learning programme designed to bridge the gap between industry and education is celebrating 25 years of inspiring young children.

Children on a CCI site visitChildren attend a site visit offered by one of the CCI programme's partners. Credit: CIEC

Children Challenging Industry (CCI), based at the University of York’s Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC), was set up in 1996 with a particular focus on children from the North East. Since then, the programme has been delivered in the North West, Yorkshire and the Humber, East of England, and other parts of the UK.

The programme consists of classroom activities as well as site visits to science-based manufacturing businesses.


To celebrate the programme’s 25th anniversary, CCI are holding two remote events with schools and industry partners across the North East. The online events will feature videos made by children, teachers and industry partners sharing their experiences of CCI, and a live Q&A. 

Since its launch, the programme has:

  • Delivered programmes to more than 56,000 pupils and over 1,900 schools
  • Arranged over 1,300 site or ambassadorial visits from over 130 companies
  • 13,000 teachers completed CCI’s professional development programmes, designed to increase children’s awareness of science.
  • Changed aspirations of children on the programme. In 2019-20, 37% of children said they would like to be a scientist when they grow up, up from 28% before the programme.
  • Changed aspirations of girls: 33% of girls said they would like to be a scientist when older, up from 26% before the programme

Remote learning

During the pandemic, the centre, which is part of the Department of Chemistry at the University of York, used remote versions of the programmes to schools and companies across the UK. 

Site visits were replaced with live classroom interactions with industry professionals in their place of work, as well as pre-recorded demonstrations that children could visualise.

Joy Parvin, Director at the Centre for Industry Education Collaboration, said “It has been a privilege to help inspire and educate young people over the past 25 years, and to meet young adults that have since chosen to study science on leaving school, and joined the STEM industries. With the support of all our industry partners, we have been able to have a huge impact on the lives of many young people, and hope CIEC can do so for the next 25 years.”


Further information:

For more information: Centre for Industry Education Collaboration (CIEC)

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Tom Creese
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